Monday, February 16, 2009

Another Anniversary

Five years ago today, I was sitting in a waiting room at UCSF. Actually, at this time we might have still been eating breakfast at Mel's Diner surrounded by our friends. Because five years ago today, Drew was having his first open-heart surgery. It was a Monday, and a holiday, just like it is this year. That probably explains why so many people could join us at the hospital that day, but back then I don't think I realized it. It's funny how when you're in a crisis it's as if the world stands still. I didn't have any idea of dates and times and certainly had no knowledge of current events. In fact, I remember when we finally came home from the hospital ten weeks later, I was angry that bulbs I had planted before Drew was born had bloomed. I couldn't believe that life had gone on as usual as our world was crumbling. It didn't seem right or fair.

I was looking through my old photos to see if I have any pictures to post from that day. I don't. I have pictures from his baptism in the hospital on the 15th and then nothing until the 22nd. I don't remember why we didn't take pictures, but part of it could be because I went crazy. Like really, truly crazy. At first they told me I had adjustment disorder. I remember thinking, what woman wouldn't have trouble adjusting to this? Then later they called it a hypomanic episode. Whatever it was, I'm glad it's over now. Anyway, the only picture I have from that morning, someone else must have taken and it's a picture of us with all of our friends at breakfast that morning. Which is what the surgeon told us to go do while we waited. I do remember that we took one picture of Drew after surgery when his chest was still open, but we decided to delete it because we didn't want anyone to see our baby that way.

What a difference 5 years makes! In some ways it doesn't feel like it could have been five years ago. While Drew's scars have healed and are beginning to fade, mine can not be seen and they still feel fresh. It still stings when I think back to any of his surgeries or hospitalizations, or how scared we felt, how desperate and out of control. But then at other times it does seem so long ago--when I think to what we used to do on a daily basis. Eight medications, tube feedings, overnight feeds, multiple therapies, lots of doctor's appointments, plus all the normal baby stuff...it's a wonder we survived all of that!

And what is he doing today, five years after they cooled his newborn body, sawed through his sternum, stopped his walnut-sized heart, repaired his aortic arch and inserted a conduit, shocked his heart back into beating, then carefully sewed him up again? He is getting into trouble! He is playing with his sister, running around the house, shouting, jumping, laughing. If I could have known then what I know now...

Thank you God for giving us Drew. Thank you for pediatric heart surgery. Thank you for the strength to carry on. And thank you for each passing year and the healing it brings.

Drew, two days before surgery, 5 days old. Breathing on his own, an IV in each hand and an umbilical artery catheter

Drew six days post-op, almost two weeks old. He's on the ventilator and has an NG tube.

Drew today-5 years old, happy and healthy

8 comments:

Krista said...

My sister turned five on Feb. 12, and every time I see a picture of Drew or read about him, I think of Charisse, and I'm so thankful that I've gotten to see her grow up -- and my heart is so happy for your family that you've gotten to see Drew grow up, and will get to do so, healthy. He's a great little boy, it seems, and I'm so happy that things have turned out well for him/you. :)

The Portas said...

Amazing little boy. Amazing family! I've been "really, truly crazy" before. I'm glad they're gone, for now, but thinking about that still hurts my heart. You guys have come such a long way. Thank you for sharing your inspiring journey with us! I'm so proud of you, Drew! xoxo

Amy, Steve, Molly, Paige and Garrett said...

This may have been a post that an exhausted, hormonal mother of new babies shouldn't have read. I'm always crying it seems. I can't imagine going through that, Andrea. I'd "go a little" crazy too...
Amy

Jessica said...

You are not kidding about thank God above for pediatric heart surgery.
I've said it before but it is truly incredible what is possible now through the wonder of medical science.

Quayle Covey Blog said...

I thank God for the miracles he's done in your life and I'm glad we've been blessed to know you!

Linda said...

Hi!

I'm celebrating with you as you remember all that has happened in the last 5 years and where Drew is today. Yea God! I met a woman here who travels to Africa many times a year to educate people on providing medical care to really sick children. She knows hearts of hope and often arranges for transport and care for children with heart problems. I told her she would have a kindred spirit in you!

Amber said...

You know I needed this post. You...your family...Drew :0)
inspire me!! :0)

katholicchik said...

thanks for being so candid -- my Josie's first heart day is just around the corner, and what you wrote completely hit home. Its funny how even though we are strangers we shared similar feelings and experiences. God bless and glad to hear you little boy is so healthy now and you have another babe without digeorge. we have hope for the same :)